A Synopsis on Dynamic of Iranian Protests
By Genc Mlloja
Albanian Daily News
Published January 8, 2018
Iranian students clash with riot police during latest protestsAfter many days of anti-government protests in many cities of Iran, the case has become an issue of the Security Council of the United Nations, which has held an emergency meeting in New York, as the U.S. had asked the world body to show support for protesters in that country. The U.S. call for support for Iranian antigovernment protesters has drawn mixed reaction, with some U.S. allies questioning whether an international response was justified and Tehran accusing Washington of seeking to derail an international nuclear deal.
US Warns Iran, World Is Watching, But...
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley opened the emergency session of the Security Council on January 5 with an impassioned plea for "brave" Iranian demonstrators, saying they are "risking their lives" to assert their rights to criticize the government and pursue a better life.
"The Iranian people are rising up in over 79 locations throughout the country," Haley said as quoted by news agencies. "It is a powerful exhibition of brave people who have become so fed up with their oppressive government that they are willing to risk their lives in protest."
"The Iranian regime is finally on notice: The world will be watching what you do," she said.
But Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, said the United States was "abusing the platform of the Security Council" with a "bogus" pretext to interfere in the domestic affairs of a member nation. He also accused the White House of using the events in Iran as a false pretense for scrapping a deal that requires Iran to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
The Trump administration certified Iran's compliance twice last year, but in October the president declined to certify for the first time, pointing to Iran's ballistic-missile development and other matters which he said were in violation of the "spirit" of the deal.
"The true underlying reason for convening today's session lies not in attempts to protect the human rights and interests of Iranian people but in a veiled attempt to use the current moment to continue the line towards derailing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which aims to settle the situation around Iran's nuclear program," Nebenzya said.
For his part the Iranian UN Ambassador, Gholamali Khoshroo accused the United States of "bullying" and "abusing" its power to summon a meeting of the Security Council on a matter he said was "outside the scope of its mandate."
Envoys from Sweden, Bolivia, Ethioia, Kuwait, and several other countries expressed reservations about whether the Security Council was the right forum for discussing the protests, according to reports from FRANCE 24, AP, and AFP.
China also left little doubt about Beijing's position that the Security Council is not a place to discuss the internal affairs of any country. "The Iranian issue does not pose any threat on international peace and security, nor is it on the agenda of the Security Council," China's Ambassador to the U.N. Wu Haitao said. "Discussing the domestic situation of Iran by the council is a practice that is not in line with the council's responsibilities as outlined in the U.N. Charter. Doing so does not help resolve the domestic issue of Iran."
Even some U.S. allies in Europe questioned the U.S. move to raise the matter before the Security Council. Only British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft openly defended the move.
"However worrying the events of the last few days in Iran may be, they do not constitute per se a threat to international peace and security," said France's UN ambassador, Francois Delattre. "We must be wary of any attempts to exploit this crisis for personal ends, which would have the diametrically opposed outcome to that which is wished," he said.
Earlier on Thursday the U.S. imposed new sanctions on five Iranian entities over their involvement in developing ballistic missiles. While those sanctions were unrelated to the ongoing protests, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said more sanctions "targeting human rights abuses are coming."
Swedish deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Irina Schoulgin Nyoni, stressed the importance of retaining the Iran nuclear deal and of engaging in dialogue with Iran. The unrest in Iran must be separated from the nuclear deal, she told the Security Council.
"Sweden and the European Union are very clear on our full support for the agreement. Its continued implementation is of crucial importance. The agreement is ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, which contributes to stability in the region and beyond. It significantly contributes to strengthening the global non-proliferation architecture," she said.
So far, official Brussels has said it was "closely following the ongoing demonstrations in Iran, the increase of violence and the unacceptable loss of human lives."